The Wardrobe Architect: Week Five

The Wardrobe Architect

Dare I say that this week has been my favourite?! I find it hard to see in black and white and I love colour. This week we were asked to consider the words we came up with previously, the colours we wear and the colours that are in our stash.

I feel like I have a little head start with this as around about a year ago I decided to try and ditch the black outfits I wore at work (it is far too easy to dress in black at the office) and splash some colour about.

Many of the dresses I have made while blogging here have been work appropriate, it’s something I try to keep in mind when I make a new item or put an outfit together.

So, with the above in mind I went to the Robert Kaufman website and looked at the Kona colours as I know they’ve got fantastic block colours (I’ve used them before for sewing). I decided to put together a palette from there. This is what I came up with:


No surprises for  me really, I know what I like; bold, bright and warm colours. I’m not one for wearing pastels, being pale I think they look a bit wishy washy on me and I prefer something that is a contrast to my complexion.

This exercise was good in two ways, it cemented some thought I’d had about my preferences and it let me have a nosey at the fab fabric Kona colours (my purse will grumble). I’m Looking forward to week 6 already!

The Wardrobe Architect: Week 4

The Wardrobe Architect

This week I feel the real fun started. We took our answers from week 3 and started to pull them together to create silhouettes. I used Polyvore as suggested and pinned my creations onto my core style board on Pinterest.

I have to say I’m pretty happy with what I came up with. Having something visual is much better for me when I’m considering what it is I like.

It has solidified that even though I’m happy for skirts to be many things – A Line, full and pencil – bodices really need to be fitted, on dresses, tops and jumpers.

We were asked to think about how we’d cross combine these items, I think all of the below could easily be swapped about and fit together perfectly. I couldn’t help but go for colour but the silhouettes on the pieces I chose are more what it’s about really. I’m very happy with my work this week.

I’d love to see what everyone else came up with, comment and link below so I can have a nosey and follow you!

Week 4 6 Week 4 5 Week 4 3 Week 4 2 Week 4 1 Week 4 7

Week 4 4

The Wardrobe Architect: Week 2

The Wardrobe Architect

Week 2 of Coletterie’s Wardrobe Architect series is all about defining a core style.

Using the worksheet provided and working alongside the answers from the previous week, we were asked to answer a few questions and then collect 15-20 images.

The Results

There were no massive surprises for me, but this has helped solidify what I already know and it has made me feel like I’m on the right track with the things I’m creating.

Maybe I need to be a little more practical with what I make though, dresses are all well and good but I’m not about to lounge about in the house or go to Tesco in them, it’s definitely given me some focus.

I really enjoyed the visual part too, being dyslexic I find that images are a very handy tool and make sense much more than the written word when it comes to focusing my mind on what I like or not.

If you’d like to check out my Core Style Pinterest Board please do, and if you’re following the series please link me up in the comments below, I’d love to see yours!

My Answers To Worksheet 2

When you are wearing your favourite clothing, how do you feel?

Like I can take on the world, I feel confident and good in my skin.

When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?

Very self-conscious. I can’t stop thinking about the fact people might think I look odd, even though they probably don’t even notice I’m wearing anything out of the ordinary for me. I think that’s why, a lot of the time, I stick to what I know will make me feel comfortable.

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

Actual: Joan Collins and Liz Taylor of the 50s/early 60s. Fictional: Joan Holloway. I love that they’re feminine without showing a lot of flesh and that their style is form fitting rather then loose.

What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?

Anything floaty, bo-ho etc…I love it on other people but the rolled out of bed and looking natural thing is not for me. I like plucked and preened, hair set, make up on, suited and booted.

Look over your answers from last week on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body. List at least 15 words that you associate with your answers. 

  • Vintage
  • 50s
  • 60s
  • Freedom of choice
  • Individual
  • Practical
  • Comfortable
  • Fitted
  • Classy
  • Sculpted
  • Block-colour
  • Classic
  • Structured
  • Feminine

Look over the answers to all of the questions above. If you had to narrow your list to only 3-5 words to describe you, which words would you choose?

Vintage, Classic, Individual, Sculptured, Structured

Collect 15-20 images that represent these 3-5 words for you. You could create a pinterest board, a folder on your computer, a moodboard, or a collage. Be creative and have fun!

McCalls 2440: All Sewn Up

This weekend just gone I cracked on with making the lovely (and not very different from a Swirl) apron dress from McCalls vintage pattern number 2440.

Pattern Pieces Teal and Atom

As I couldn’t find any teal fabric in my local shop I ordered online, along with some rather expensive, but very pretty, Michael Miller atomic fabric. It was all medium weight cotton and I matched it with my Gutermann Sew All swatch booklet I’d recently purchased online (something rather handy to have if you’re ordering fabric online because it saved me lugging it to the haberdashery, or cutting a swatch off and taking it with me) and popped into Leon’s to pick up some thread.

 Teal and Atom Gutermann Sew All Swatch Book

It didn’t take me too long to cut the material which was a good job really, as I pretty much took over the dining room, it being the only space in the house that has room enough to cut what turned out to be a rather large skirt piece.

I marked up all of the pattern pieces using a tracing wheel and carbon, which is the first time I’ve used that method. I have used tacks in the past but boy oh boy; was this so much easier, even if it did take an extra bit of time to ensure all pieces were marked up correctly, the time it saved me in the long run was priceless.

I got to sewing and finished the bodice on the Saturday. I have to admit using the new sewing machine is brilliant. I braced myself for the thickness of the fabric about to go through (seam plus binding on the sleeves) and for the needles to refuse the task ahead but it just did what it was meant to do, no fuss no bother. It does make me wonder at how much I used to struggle.

 Teal and Atom Bodice Front Teal and Atom Bodice Back

I confused myself quite a lot when it came to bias binding. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how it worked when you stitched close to the line BUT I did eventually understand. I should say at this point I am mildly dyspraxic and I am dyslexic so sometime instructions don’t work the best for me. I made one mistake of sewing the bias binding to the inside of the sleeve first and had to break out the seam ripper but it was a lesson learnt.

I found these bias binding tutorials to be pricelss though: thank you Colette Patterns and Fashion Sewing Blog!

At that point though I decided to stop sewing for the evening, as mistakes are usually a sign that I’m tried and should start fresh the next day, which I did.

On Sunday I gathered the skirt, pinned the pleats (again brain did not function too well and I only had that eureka moment when I was munching through a sunday roast) then I made and attached the waist stay and attached the skirt to the bodice. I then made a huge amount of bias binding to finish the dress off with and put the machine away until the next day.

Teal and Atom Dress Bias Binding

Monday night after a return from work, I added the binding and a press stud on the back of the dress (it seemed to be gaping somewhat and I may replace with a covered button in the future) then popped it into the washer and waited to see what came out…and guess what did? Only a blummin beauty of a dress!

New to me on this sewing project:

Bias Binding (making and attaching)
Waist Stay

All of which I found okay. My bias binding could be better, I did stray from the line a little in certain places and I don’t think anyone would get close enough to tell but it does need improving, mind you by the end of the ridiculous amount of binding I added to this dress I was becoming quite a dab hand!

The finished dress:

McCalls 2440 Finished

The front

McCalls 2440 Finished

The back (the binding does go all the way round by the way but the wind caught the side that was wrapped over!)

So what do you think?

I am, personally, extremely happy with how it’s turned out, I thought it would be a lot trickier than it turned out to be.

My Vintage Sewing Pattern Collection

I have been collecting patterns for a little while now and I thought I’d share them with you. I’ve also put a handy link in the sidebar so if you click there you’ll automatically be transported (via the medium of net webbage) to my flickr account and you’ll be able to see my updated set which I’ll add more patterns to as and when I purchase them.

vintage sewing patterns

As you can see from the below I generally buy patterns from the late 1950s through to the 1960s. This is mainly due to my obsession with Mad Men. If I could have a wardrobe completely full of carbon copies of the beautiful costumes used in the award winning show I would, and maybe, if this all goes accordingly and I end up some sort of super stitching seamstress, I will.  But chickens and hatching and all that.

McCalls 7292Simplicity 2654Simplicity 2701Simplicity 4520Simplicity 4675Simplicity 5891

If you’d like to take a look at a few more, they can all be found on my flickr here (or click the photo in the sidebar to the right).

I have to say I’m very much looking forward to diving in. Having spent quite a lot of cash in the past on repro vintage I’m looking forward to the satisfaction of making something to wear with an original vintage cut, safe in the knowledge that no one will be wearing the same thing (or relatively safe anyway!).

Does anyone have any of these patterns? If you do give me a shout, as I’m relatively a novice any heads up on how easy these patterns are to use or what difficulties other have had using them would be of great help to me before I put scissors to paper and in turn cloth.